What is periventricular leukomalacia?

Periventricular Leukomalacia

What is periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) in newborns?

Periventricular leukomalacia (say "pair-uh-ven-TRICK-yuh-ler loo-koh-muh-LAY-shuh"), or PVL, is damage to an area of a baby's brain as it develops in the womb. The brain may have received too little oxygen or had an infection before birth. PVL happens most often in babies who are born prematurely. It may lead to problems with the nervous system and the brain's development as the child grows. The problems can range from mild to severe.

PVL is diagnosed with the help of an ultrasound, an MRI, or a CT scan.

There is no specific treatment for PVL. Your baby is getting treatment for the problems he or she may have from being born early.

The long-term effects of PVL on your child depend on how severe the damage is. Physical and occupational therapy may help as he or she gets older.

Your baby may need special care, such as being in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This may be scary for you. But the hospital staff understands this. They will explain what happens and will answer your questions.

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